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Posted at 3:25 PM ET, 01/18/2011

Update: FCC, Justice approve Comcast and NBC joint venture

By Cecilia Kang

Federal regulators on Tuesday approved Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal, allowing for a joint venture that puts a vast library of television shows and movies under the control of the nation's biggest cable and broadband Internet service provider.

The Justice Department also announced its approval of the deal with conditions aimed at keeping Comcast-NBCU from quashing competition from other networks and Internet providers.

Together, the companies have 16.7 million broadband subscribers, about 23 million cable customer and dozens of lucrative channels such as USA, Bravo, MSNBC and CNBC.

In a 4-to-1 vote, the Federal Communications Commission determined the deal was in the nation's public interest and assigned a number of conditions to the venture to ensure that Comcast shares content with cable competitors and gives other networks fair access to its customers.

Many of the conditions focus on the burgeoning online video industry, ensuring that Comcast doesn't stifle competition there with its control over access to content and so many shows.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski approved of the joint venture late December, saying that ultimately the union would benefit consumers as Comcast promised to contribute more local news and informational programming on some channels, more programming aimed at children and minorities, and $9.95 broadband Internet service for low-income households.

In a release, he noted that several conditions with a duration of seven years aimed to ensure competition in the cable and Internet space. Online video conditions are unprecedented and are the agency's first foray into shaping that industry as more consumers jump onto the Web for their video entertainment and news.

"After a thorough review, we have adopted strong and fair merger conditions to ensure this transaction serves the public interest," Genachowski said.

Specifically, the FCC required Comcast to offer Internet versions of its content -- such as "Saturday Night Live" and "Top Chef" -- to "bona fide" online distributors of video at the same terms and conditions it gives to cable and satellite providers. Those distributors would have to be services that doen't engage in piracy and meet certain financial qualification, according to a official at the FCC. Those businesses could include Apple TV and YouTube. To prevent Comcast from unfairly targeting competitors, Comcast would also have to offer Internet videos to online distributors who partner with NBC's peers.

The FCC did not require the venture to divest its stake in Hulu, a condition proposed by lawmakers such as Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.). Hulu is jointly owned by NBC, News Corp. and the Walt Disney Co. The FCC and Justice said Comcast has to give up its management rights over Hulu, but can maintain its equity in the firm. A FCC official said during a press call that it wanted Comcast to be able to maintain its equity in Hulu so, "they have some skin in the game to have Hulu be successful.”

"The conditions imposed will maintain an open and fair marketplace while at the same time allow the innovative aspects of the transaction to go forward.” said Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.

The FCC also required Comcast to offer broadband Internet access as a stand-alone service at "reasonable prices" and with "sufficient bandwidth" so customers can choose to watch video online without having to also subscribe to cable television.

Democratic Commissioner Michael J. Copps, the sole dissenting vote, said the concentration of media under Comcast's control would put too much power into one company that controls the access consumers have to entertainment and news. He said in the end that the venture would have too many potential conflicts.

The deal "reaches into virtually every corner of our media and digital landscapes and will affect every citizen in the land," Copps said in a statement. "All the majority’s efforts — diligent though they were — to ameliorate these harms cannot mask the truth that this Comcast-NBCU joint venture grievously fails the public interest."

By Cecilia Kang  | January 18, 2011; 3:25 PM ET
Categories:  Antitrust, Broadband, Comcast, DOJ, FCC, Media, Net Neutrality, comcast  
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Next: Comcast and NBC venture approved with bevvy of conditions

Comments

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski signed off on the joint venture late December, saying that ultimately the union would benefit consumers as Comcast promised to add 1,000 hours of news and informational programming to some channels, contribute $20 million in venture funds for minority programs, and $9.95 broadband Internet service for low-income households.
***********************************

Bring back those rules from pre-2003.!!!!

Comcast "promised"....did you get that in writing? More crappy programming means more I pay for less quality programming.

What happened to the competition that cable was to bring? In most areas, people do not really have a choice. It's either cable or dish. Dish wants a service contract. When the weather sucks, you have no reception.

Posted by: MichelleKinPA | January 18, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"the FCC determined the deal was in the nation's public interest"

In its interest, huh?

I wonder how such blatantly corrupt bribees sleep at night? (That's too easy: "on great big piles of money")

At least 1 member played Good Cop(ps).

Posted by: Texan7 | January 18, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Such mergers only benefit the big corporations and are not in the interest of consumers or employees. Mergers of airlines have resulted in poorer srvices and higher charges for consumers while many employees lost their jobs. Consumers and employees will be badly afftected by this merger as well.

Posted by: kms123 | January 18, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me - or does that make a monopoly? IDK... just asking because it seems like a lot... then again, does it even matter?

Posted by: tk995 | January 18, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

On the plus side, that means more Cabletown jokes on 30 Rock.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 18, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

The FCC uses its power to fine newworks for using bad words, but it doesn't use its power to stop a monopoly in the making?

The FCC is so corrupt!

Posted by: kenk33 | January 18, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

What a suprise.

Posted by: Trout1 | January 18, 2011 2:17 PM | Report abuse

For shame Obama. For shame.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | January 18, 2011 2:19 PM | Report abuse

yeah. its Obama's fault. Get a clue

Posted by: jmurray019 | January 18, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

What a load of crap! The Bureaucrats run the country into the ground while those charged with protecting our liberty snooze through it all. The FCC, the FTC, the EPA, the DOE, blah, blah, blah.

How did we ever do without these corrupt entities who suck up the soul of this once great country?

They all need to be defunded and their worthless employees made to get real jobs. (As if anyone with a brain would hire them!)

Posted by: jfrykman | January 18, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I don't see what the big deal is here (except, of course, for ripe material for 30 Rock and SNL). NBC is one of 4 and 1/2 broadcast networks (the half being the CW) in an era when broadcast networks are fading in relevance. OK, add in MSNBC, CNBC, and whatever else. They probably control about 10% of viewership at best. Where's the monopoly?

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 18, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I hope they don't think we don't know what's going on. this guy,Genachowski, is an industry hack who was then installed as FCC Chairman by the very people he was supposed to regulate. This is par for the course, always has been and always will be. We are serfs serving the mega-corps. Disgusting.

Posted by: Trout1 | January 18, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

yeah. its Obama's fault. Seriously? Get a clue. One man doesn't run the country. Go read the Constitution. Last time I looked, the President was head of the FCC. And if any branch of the government was to act to stop or prevent this merger from happening, it would be the supreme court, if it got that far.

Posted by: jmurray019 | January 18, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

yeah. its Obama's fault. Seriously? Get a clue. One man doesn't run the country. Go read the Constitution. Last time I looked, the President wasn't the head of the FCC. And if any branch of the government was to act to stop or prevent this merger from happening, it would be the supreme court, if it got that far after all the appeals.

Posted by: jmurray019 | January 18, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I seriously hate comcast. Comcast is the worst cable company ever. They mess up every time I call them. And now they have even more control. I can not see how that is in my or anyone's best interest.

Posted by: ctree | January 18, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Sheesh. If you don't like it, don't watch Biggest Loser tonight. Go to DirectTV or FiOS instead of Comcast. Or post random comments ranting about the merger. Yeah, that'll do it.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 18, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Bad news for the kook squad of Schultz, Olbermann, former Boston Bruins goaltender Maddow and O'Donnell. Comcast likes to make money. 12 viewers isn't gonna cut it.

Posted by: lure1 | January 18, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

the corporatists own our government.

another victory for the rich and greedy.

Posted by: xxxxxx1 | January 18, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

The issue is that since Comcast is a MAJOR Cable TV Supply Co. now they have control over networks and other channels to again charge ridiculous prices to Time Warner, Cox, DTv, Dish, etc. to carry. That is the problem here. If the FCC put in provisions that the "charge" Comcast charges themselves to carry the channel on Comcast Cable is the same they "charge" the other Companies that may work...that way it forces Comcast to raise the rates of their own subscribers if they want more from other Companies.

Posted by: spartyinmd | January 18, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

win for consumers?? Just ask any Comcast customer if they actually like having Comcast. They charge ridiculous prices for crappy content

Posted by: facelessinusa | January 18, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

win for consumers?? Just ask any Comcast customer if they actually like having Comcast. They charge ridiculous prices for crappy content

Posted by: facelessinusa | January 18, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Bring back those rules from pre-2003.!!!!

Comcast "promised"....did you get that in writing? More crappy programming means more I pay for less quality programming.

What happened to the competition that cable was to bring? In most areas, people do not really have a choice. It's either cable or dish. Dish wants a service contract. When the weather sucks, you have no reception.

Posted by: MichelleKinPA | January 18, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse
============================================
Actually, DISH requires a 2-year contract when you sign up in exchange for not having to buy the receiver, DVR, sattelite dish, etc. I think that's pretty standard. Also, I've had DISH for the past 3 years, and in the last year we haven't lost reception once, even during thunderstorms (even when we did lose reception in previous years, we only lost reception for about 10 minutes once or twice a month in the summer). I think the technolodgy has improved significantly even in just the last year or two.

As for this merger, I think it's probably a bad idea. Companies adhere to these agreements in the early years, but find ways to weasel out of them after that.

Posted by: chadborman | January 18, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Comcast is already a monopoly. It and Charter are the same company and never overlap each other. If someone calls an employee at comcast and is in charter territory they are transfered to charter! They both use the same pricing,computers and software. I know this because I used to work for Charter. Both companies give terrible service and do not care because they can offer things phone INTERNET that dish network can not. I would like to see the money trail and see who was paid off. As always let me know what you think I am at work http://www.westmichiganbusinessreview.com and yes please keep those jokes coming! Which reminds me this coming year, both Groundhog Day and the State of the Union Address occur on the same day. As the BBC has pointed out:"It is an ironic juxtaposition of events; one involves a meaningless ritual in which Americans look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication, while the other involves a groundhog."

Posted by: Loxinabox | January 18, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Is it going to be called Kabletown?

Posted by: ozpunk | January 18, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Where are our regulators? Are they brain dead. Our culture was founded upon the concept of "competition" Approving this "merger" is only stifling competition. What ever happened to the concept of preventing monopolies in an area which serves the public. We are forced to deal with larger and larger banks, that come up, with more ingenious ways of squeezing more profits out of the public, such as debiting your checking account for checks coming in over the weekend, but not crediting electronic transfers until the Monday, even though the institution doing the transferring unequivocally shows the transfer has complete as of the Friday before the weekend. Consider also deliberate delays in crediting deposits made via a local cashiers check for a period of 10 days, regardless of what Federal Law requires. It is considered illegal for a group of suppliers to combine to set prices, yet it is perfectly OK to allow a conglomerate to buy up all of the competition, and then set it prices, no competition, the public has to pay. This is what FCC has given the Public. They are obviously brain dead.

Posted by: ATC444 | January 18, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Terrible, now NBC will also suck.

Posted by: citigreg | January 18, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

HOPE they keep Broadcasting

I use an well tuned Antenna System.

Posted by: pdq5 | January 18, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

ATC444 wrote:Where are our regulators? Are they brain dead. Our culture was founded upon the concept of "competition" Approving this "merger" is only stifling competition. What ever happened to the concept of preventing monopolies in an area which serves the public. We are forced to deal with larger and larger banks, that come up, with more ingenious ways of squeezing more profits out of the public, such as debiting your checking account for checks coming in over the weekend, but not crediting electronic transfers until the Monday, even though the institution doing the transferring unequivocally shows the transfer has complete as of the Friday before the weekend. Consider also deliberate delays in crediting deposits made via a local cashiers check for a period of 10 days, regardless of what Federal Law requires. It is considered illegal for a group of suppliers to combine to set prices, yet it is perfectly OK to allow a conglomerate to buy up all of the competition, and then set it prices, no competition, the public has to pay. This is what FCC has given the Public. They are obviously brain dead.

No, they are far from brain dead. What they are is bought and paid for. Reprehensible little corporate shills getting on their knees everyday to serve their masters.

Posted by: Trout1 | January 18, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Ever tried to call COMCAST with a service problem? If you have and encountered one poorly trained idiot after the other then you realize what the culture of this company is all about. Remember VIACOM Time Warner merger another pure stock play for management. Time subscriptions went from $31.00 per year to $98.00 They over pay and then the consumer overpays. This really sucks for the consumer all around and is another example of the use of "other peoples money". Roberts and crew are sharks and GE is glad to get such a high price that overblown airbag NBC. Note how little money any one of these guys have in this deal it is all leverage and guess who will pay the interest - Joe the lunch bucket. I hope you guys give this front page treatment and don't bury on page 18.

Posted by: 33jayave | January 18, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why Comcast wanted to buy NBC, they don't have anything anybody wants to watch, anymore.

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | January 18, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

the danger is not price but speed, this contract allows them to charge less for their shows/ service and charge more for content/ services that are their competition. log on to hulu and get high speed Internet. log on to yaba and get low speed Internet from the same provider. its call throttling in the industry and the FCC just gave com cast a huge advantage.

Posted by: paperburn1 | January 18, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Monopoly, Monopoly- Who protects the consumer??? Where is the competition. It is either cable or dish. Comcast is the worse- more crappy programs-full of stupid infomercials.

Posted by: guarg1 | January 18, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

This will be a disaster.

Posted by: madest | January 18, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Crap.

Posted by: SarahBB | January 18, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, just what we need, another monopoly. I cannot believe that this is what we get under a Democratic administration. Never mind FDR, where is TR when you need him???

Posted by: ExperimentalTheologian | January 18, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse


Comcast knows its business model has no long term viability. As television and the internet merge, the purveyors will multiply and the numbers of subscribers willing to pay for premium content will dwindle. They are going after a programming company to give them a long term strategy.

In fact, all the media giants are threatened by the trends in communication technology. Don't weep too hard for them. Change is inevitable.

Posted by: edbyronadams | January 18, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

It’s official. Here’s more background from a PBS’s news hour from last December.
Comcast, NBC Merger Changes Media Landscape
Cable giant Comcast bought a majority stake in NBC Universal in a deal valued at $30 billion. Jeffrey Brown talks to journalists for more on the merger. http://www.newslook.com/videos/171390-comcast-nbc-merger-changes-media-landscape?autoplay=true

Posted by: dbmetzger | January 18, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Stop watching TV. Read a book instead. If you must watch TV, watch only what you can get online for free. Then be sure and tell the advertisers what you're doing.

Posted by: hazledonnie | January 18, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I don't think giving an oligopoly more market power, is in hte public interest.
And did Comcast ever settle with Level3? Call it the cable-iazation of the open internet, and it's just beginning. Thx FCC

Posted by: Hattrik | January 18, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

The only condition that would make this deal palatable would be that comcast must divest all and any part of its business that lays cables, builds or maintains infrastructure, equipment, or any part of the architecture of the internet from any other part that sells any kind of service or content whatsoever.

I'd also like to see the equipment part separated from the cable laying part.

The company in the cable laying business would have to obey common carrier laws and not charge anybody (including their own sister businesses) any less than they charge anyone else. They cannot sell bandwidth, as that is content. they can only sell a right of way for a wire or cable, and the maintenance of it. This way there could be real competition at every level.

The problem here is once we have such a huge vertically integrated monopoly, every single aspect of the internet, cable, phone becomes stifled completely.

It is a truly disappointing day that the president (who lied when he said he would stand behind nobody on the issue of net neutrality) is giving away the farm to comcast what it has been totally within his power to stop them.

The dreadful telecommunications act of 1996 already killed of 99.99% of the ISPs out there by no longer requiring phone companies to obey common carrier laws when it came to the use of strands of fiber or of any wires by any of their competitors. Pretty much overnight, telcos raised rates and started charging for speeds instead of for a piece of wire. The rest is history. The usa has lost all ground and isn't even in the top 20 countries when it comes to average internet speed.

As Senator Franken warned, this is the first domino to fall, and it won't be long now before somebody like AT&T purchases CBS or ABC and Verizon gets the other one.

It's really a sad day for this country.

Posted by: dkliman | January 18, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I think the vertical integration of media access and content is a bad idea. You can't have the companies that control the pipeline (Comcast) also own the content (NBC). It's a classic conflict of interest, and especially in an information society like ours. I don't care what the assurances are. The FCC and Justice Dept. should not have approved this. Another reason why I still watch TV with an antenna and a converter box.

Posted by: LMF1 | January 18, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

On the issues that the corporate power elite deem very important, our elected representatives will ALWAYS side with big business. ALWAYS. The US population keeps getting duped. These people do NOT care about the public, they are shills!

Posted by: Trout1 | January 18, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Crazy! Unbelievable. That CAN'T be legal. We went head-to-head with monopolies at the beginning of last century, didn't we? This is absurd. History- people who don't study it are doomed to repeat it. Someone better organize a class action suit, let us get on board.

Posted by: whitebeard1 | January 18, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

"...the FCC determined the deal was in the nation's public interest" Outrageous behavior on the part of the FCC. A monopoly seems in the best interest of the powerful and they care not a whit about anyone else. I spit on your "joint-venture"

Posted by: 8lackie | January 18, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why Comcast wanted to buy NBC, they don't have anything anybody wants to watch, anymore.

*****************

For those who believe that this *only* affects NBC programming, understand that Comcast is gaining a majority ownership of NBC-Universal, which includes the USA Network, SyFy, Telemundo, Bravo, MSNBC, and CNBC cable networks, in addition to NBC. It also includes all of the Universal Theme Parks, as well as the Universal Movie Studio and its film and television properties. Don't think for a second that your life, at some point, won't include media controlled or produced by this new conglomerate.

The question is not about the NBC-Universal content that Comcast is purchasing as much as it is about a *provider* now being able to manage access to the content, controlling how it is distributed to other providers, i.e. NetFlix, DirecTV, FIOS, UVerse, DishNetwork, etc., as well as directly to consumers.

Posted by: Bra8en | January 18, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Knock Knock - Its wake up time... As of 2000, 90% of all radio/TV media has been owned by 6 Corporations. Thats 6... AOL-Time Warner, Viacom, NewsCorp, Disney, Bertelsmann & Vivendi Universal.

Here is the chart - http://www.mediachannel.org/ownership/front.shtml#chart

Posted by: redjelly39 | January 18, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

In the year 2000 FCC unconstitutionally removed all the PBS stations from the access law. The 'as-applied' challenge to FCC jurisdiction over the First Amendment right to access is nearly ready for the federal court. In the 2008 election, the independent candidate for president applied to all of the networks for access. They all ignored his requests except for NBC which sent the unknown candidate a letter mocking his political campaign and his rights.

The access law is very clear: For the willful and repeated failure to allow access, the Commission may REVOKE a network's license. The court is empowered to order the Commission to do just that. The ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE is part of the petition.

The bottom line: Comcast will be getting an empty shell with the license of NBC and all of their licenses up for public auction, netting our government billions. Are we afraid of speech? The petition,nearly finished, is beyond 300 pages without a wasted or repetitious paragraph.

A smart move on Comcast part is to start dragging their feet because they will have the opportunity to bid on the whole ball of wax at public auction.

Michael Stephen Levinson is the black listed poet behind the petition. He brings to the political table a Vehicle for World Peace, that in the form of a Television Scripture he plans to perform, from dusk until dawn, like old blind Homer, with every line a delicate sensible rhyme, for all the worlds' peoples to participate in together all at once, beginning with Adman and Even in the Gar Den ov Edum.

NBC and the others willfully ignore the Supreme Court precepts that it is the right of the viewers and listeners, not the right of the broadcasters that is paramount. We shall see what happens with michaelslevinson, the "jacklegs jumping up."

Are we afraid to allow the poet author of prophetic works to tell his vision? A note to the readers: run the words "jacklegs jumping up" in The New York Times archive. See what you get.

Posted by: michaelslevinson | January 18, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

With this merger, cable bills will go higher. My bill used to be well over $100 per month. Which is ridiculous, especially with the internet tv feeds available out there now. You can watch regular tv with just a web connect. The one I use is from the TVDevo website. It’s dirt cheap and no monthly fees.

Posted by: meganbrod | January 18, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

First, forget any "promises" or deals the cable industry makes. They are proven liars. How many rate hikes and taxes have been imposed under the guise of improving infrastructure and went right into their pockets instead? THE issue is that of public trust. The Federal Communications Commission was created to regulate and protect the airwaves in the public interest. Period. They have no problem governing whose boobs can bounce across our screens or which words are too caustic for young ears, but ask them to protect the public from monsterous corporate greed and the free flow of information and they claim a few cheap, empty promises make it all OK. Well it's NOT OK - It's criminal - something we might expect some wild-eyed dictator. There they would call it corruption. Here we call it commerce.

President Obama IS to blame - it is under HIS direction that the FCC gets is marching (or in this case, slithering) orders. Obama said he favors net neutrality, but his appointee's actions prove otherwise.

Please, please, please remember people, that cable companies are Toll booths to the Internet. Nobody owns the Internet! IF this kind of monopoly building continues, you will have these crackers controlling not only the COST of getting on the highway, they will control the CONTENT (imagine waking up in your own home, headed for the bathroom only to discover that your realtor worked a deal to sell your HALLWAY to someone else, and he is now standing at the door to extract a toll from you before you can go use the can. Get it? THIS is precisely what is happening with these unholy alliances.

Oh - and it's not about your programs. It is about WHO controls the information. Anyone who has lived long enought to remember Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow knows that what passes as news today is embarrassing. For the presence of Fox and MSNBC (bookends of misinformation) you have consolidation of media AND the caving of the FCC to thank for it. If your children are watching hours of mindless babble and unbridled aggression, it is because YOUR FCC deregulated the airwaves (under Reagan) spelling the end of mandated educationally sound programs for children. (This was done at the same time that Reagan's FDA was calling ketchup a vegetable!)

I voted for Obama in part because of his stated position on this issue. In my opinion he has failed us. Now that it's a done deal it will be impossible to put the spam back in the can. Personally, I am so over this administration AND this government. We no longer have Republicans and Democrats.. We have the Gottis vs. the Gambinos and it is shameful.

Posted by: walkerv45 | January 18, 2011 5:51 PM | Report abuse

First, forget any "promises" or deals the cable industry makes. They are proven liars. How many rate hikes and taxes have been imposed under the guise of improving infrastructure and went right into their pockets instead? THE issue is that of public trust. The Federal Communications Commission was created to regulate and protect the airwaves in the public interest. Period. They have no problem governing whose boobs can bounce across our screens or which words are too caustic for young ears, but ask them to protect the public from monsterous corporate greed and the free flow of information and they claim a few cheap, empty promises make it all OK. Well it's NOT OK - It's criminal - something we might expect some wild-eyed dictator. There they would call it corruption. Here we call it commerce.

President Obama IS to blame - it is under HIS direction that the FCC gets is marching (or in this case, slithering) orders. Obama said he favors net neutrality, but his appointee's actions prove otherwise.

Please, please, please remember people, that cable companies are Toll booths to the Internet. Nobody owns the Internet! IF this kind of monopoly building continues, you will have these crackers controlling not only the COST of getting on the highway, they will control the CONTENT (imagine waking up in your own home, headed for the bathroom only to discover that your realtor worked a deal to sell your HALLWAY to someone else, and he is now standing at the door to extract a toll from you before you can go use the can. Get it? THIS is precisely what is happening with these unholy alliances.

Oh - and it's not about your programs. It is about WHO controls the information. Anyone who has lived long enought to remember Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow knows that what passes as news today is embarrassing. For the presence of Fox and MSNBC (bookends of misinformation) you have consolidation of media AND the caving of the FCC to thank for it. If your children are watching hours of mindless babble and unbridled aggression, it is because YOUR FCC deregulated the airwaves (under Reagan) spelling the end of mandated educationally sound programs for children. (This was done at the same time that Reagan's FDA was calling ketchup a vegetable!)

I voted for Obama in part because of his stated position on this issue. In my opinion he has failed us. Now that it's a done deal it will be impossible to put the spam back in the can. Personally, I am so over this administration AND this government. We no longer have Republicans and Democrats.. We have the Gottis vs. the Gambinos and it is shameful.

Posted by: walkerv45 | January 18, 2011 5:51 PM | Report abuse

First, forget any "promises" or deals the cable industry makes. They are proven liars. How many rate hikes and taxes have been imposed under the guise of improving infrastructure and went right into their pockets instead? THE issue is that of public trust. The Federal Communications Commission was created to regulate and protect the airwaves in the public interest. Period. They have no problem governing whose boobs can bounce across our screens or which words are too caustic for young ears, but ask them to protect the public from monsterous corporate greed and the free flow of information and they claim a few cheap, empty promises make it all OK. Well it's NOT OK - It's criminal - something we might expect some wild-eyed dictator. There they would call it corruption. Here we call it commerce.

President Obama IS to blame - it is under HIS direction that the FCC gets is marching (or in this case, slithering) orders. Obama said he favors net neutrality, but his appointee's actions prove otherwise.

Please, please, please remember people, that cable companies are Toll booths to the Internet. Nobody owns the Internet! IF this kind of monopoly building continues, you will have these crackers controlling not only the COST of getting on the highway, they will control the CONTENT (imagine waking up in your own home, headed for the bathroom only to discover that your realtor worked a deal to sell your HALLWAY to someone else, and he is now standing at the door to extract a toll from you before you can go use the can. Get it? THIS is precisely what is happening with these unholy alliances.

Oh - and it's not about your programs. It is about WHO controls the information. Anyone who has lived long enought to remember Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow knows that what passes as news today is embarrassing. For the presence of Fox and MSNBC (bookends of misinformation) you have consolidation of media AND the caving of the FCC to thank for it. If your children are watching hours of mindless babble, it is because YOUR FCC deregulated the airwaves (under Reagan) spelling the end of mandated educationally sound programs for children. (This was done at the same time that Reagan's FDA was calling ketchup a vegetable!)

I voted for Obama in part because of his stated position on this issue. I am so over this administration AND this government. We no longer have Republicans and Democrats.. We have the Gottis vs. the Gambinos and it is shameful.

Posted by: walkerv45 | January 18, 2011 5:52 PM | Report abuse

For shame Obama. For shame.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian

The FCC is made up of both sides of the isle. As you can read the one dissenter was the Chairman who is an Obama appointee. But if your objective is to Obamabash then the facts as usual should not matter. Bash on.

Posted by: ged0386 | January 18, 2011 5:59 PM | Report abuse

ged0386 - Fair enough, and my purpose is not to Bash Obama. But where is the fire from the White House around this issue? Where is the mobilization to help turn the tide. Just because Obama's appointee dissented doesn't mean he accomplished his mission. I can "appoint" my dog to guard my house, but if I wake up to a dog chewing on a bone and my house cleaned out, it doesn't much matter what I call him... This isn't about Obama (and God knows, McCain would have done no better) - my beef is government failing the American people - and this is a BIG one.

Posted by: walkerv45 | January 18, 2011 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Can Needlenose. Get back Liz Claman.

Posted by: phvr38 | January 18, 2011 6:35 PM | Report abuse

The sellout of America's citizens to enrich the few continues - with the government's blessing.

If the FCC is not going to protect us from anti-competitive mergers, then perhaps their $352 million budget should be cut - perhaps to $0.

Posted by: SpeakEasy3 | January 18, 2011 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Does this mean, Comcast will put Verizon Fios, DirectTV, RCN, and Time Warner out of business?

Posted by: CaptainKangaroo | January 18, 2011 8:16 PM | Report abuse

For the record, it was AOL that merged with Time Warner in 1999 and it was not successful. At about the same time (2000)Viacom merged with CBS but in 2006 that union was broken up (CBS eventually got control of Paramount's television unit). Now that Comcast has 51% ownership of NBC Universal the first thing that will happen will be the removal of the network's beleagured president, Jeff Zucker (and that was already announced). Whether the NBC network can turn around their dismal prime time ratings (outside of Sunday Night Football) is another story. Comcast says that they have a new management team that will be in place upon the merger approval (that's why they were not saying anything at the recent Winter Press Tour; now they can make their annoucement at 30 Rock). Only time - and programming and ratings - will tell.

Posted by: garnwalk | January 18, 2011 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Will Com Cast make changes at the evening crowd at MSNBC ?????? Chris Mathews is beaten 4 times over by his competition at FOX at both his 5 pm hour and again at the 7 o'clock hour... Mr Ed gets slapped around by at least 4 to 1 by Fox's evening news...O'Reilly takes Keith out 3 1/2 to 1. Hannity beats Rachel 3 to 1 and Gretta takes out poor Larry O'donnell at 10. a network boss cannot sit on his or her hands and do nothing about that, can they??

Posted by: james_m_reilly1 | January 18, 2011 8:33 PM | Report abuse

There's no way this deal is good for consumers. I will bet every penny I ever earn that most everyone's cable and/or Internet bill will be higher after this merger.

Oil companies reap record profits while sky high gas prices, that directly preceded our current economic hiccup, zap buisness. Now this absolute necessity (Internet to buisness) will be in the strangle hold of one provider. The same group is responsible, the very federal regulators who are meant to protect us. Will the IRS please make sure these guys report their kickbacks.

Posted by: Adam_freedman | January 18, 2011 9:53 PM | Report abuse

There's no way this deal is good for consumers. I will bet every penny I ever earn that most everyone's cable and/or Internet bill will be higher after this merger.

Oil companies reap record profits while sky high gas prices, that directly preceded our current economic hiccup, zap buisness. Now this absolute necessity (Internet to buisness) will be in the strangle hold of one provider. The same group is responsible, the very federal regulators who are meant to protect us. Will the IRS please make sure these guys report their kickbacks.

Posted by: Adam_freedman | January 18, 2011 9:54 PM | Report abuse

The fascist billionaires that now control America are playing a game of chicken with Americans to see how far they can be pushed to the brink without fighting back. This Comcast deal is George Orwell's Big Brother come to life with the blessing of turncoat President Obama. It's Fox News 24/7 on all your TV and Internet with this deal forged in hell.

Posted by: mygmyg211 | January 18, 2011 10:29 PM | Report abuse

To big to manage if merge. Look what happened to AOL and TIME WARNER's merger.

Posted by: muhammadrahmanraza | January 19, 2011 3:36 AM | Report abuse

what is with this hypocrisy on this country? For years the justice department hammered Microsoft because of their dominance and forced many changes on them. Yet, Comcast and NBC are allowed to join forces giving customers even less of a choice...what the hell?? I would argue at least the existence of Microsoft has provided something useful over the decades that has furthered technology--what does Comcast and/or NBC bring us..more boob tube, more reality shows, more re-runs, etc....great..just what our kids need to reinforce another brainless activity...customers need more choices and there MUST be more competition out there or we are all screwed....

Posted by: michaelaudet | January 19, 2011 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Once more a mega corporation prevails. The FCC and FTC were established to promote fairness and competition. It seems that they seldom find a corporate merger that they do not approve. Mergers, pretty much all mergers reduce competition and in so doing reduce fairness and usually customer service and satisfaction.
Only Commissioner Copp stood for consumers and American citizens.

Posted by: kschodack | January 19, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

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